When asked about specifics not too many parameters were given. There was no theme for the day and the only songs that were requested were "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan and they wanted me to finish with "Amazing Grace". The total music time did have to add up to at least 15 minutes. Easily doable in my book. Now I just had to pick out the songs and line up some friends to help.
I am quite lucky when it comes to having great friends in music. I enlisted the help of Sharon on piano and Roger on guitar. We have been playing together for the last year in One Spirit UMC's praise band so it wasn't a stretch for us to collaborate on another church music project.
It took me a few weeks to narrow down the music selections. I wanted to make sure that everything worked well together and would show our strengths as musicians. I finally decided on this list of songs:
- "Be Thou My Vision" arranged by Jars of Clay
- "Restless" by Audrey Assad and Matt Maher
- "Church in the Wildwood" by Dr. William S. Pitts
- "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan
- "Winter Snow" by Audrey Assad
- "Untitled Hymn: Come to Jesus" by Chris Rice
- "Amazing Grace" adapted and arranged by John Coates, Jr.
I always over plan for this type of performance. I believe it is better to have too much music than not enough. You never know when someone is going to come up and ask you to stretch things a bit because the speaker hasn't arrived yet, etc. Well, we didn't have to worry because they actually had to cut us off before we were to sing "Amazing Grace" due to the fact that Rev. Congressman Cleaver had another obligation that day and couldn't stay much longer than his talk.
Rev. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II was very complimentary and even offered to take me with him to sing at his church when he left that day. He spoke about our community and about our nation and how much we are in debt. How our young people's values have shifted from the values of our older generations. He charged us to be responsible with our money and not to be afraid to work hard to make a better life for ourselves and our children. It was a very empowering message.
If I were to mention a downside to the day I would say that it was the fact we had to be there so early in the morning to set up and practice before breakfast was served. I am not a morning person especially since I have had children. No one seems to sleep when you want them to. On a positive note I was able to put together a program of songs that I have always wanted to perform and that are some of my all time favorites. I look forward to sharing more performances like that in the future.